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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

What is the difference between Purpose and Social Purpose

Many corporate leaders think they qualify as a “purpose-led” organisation. They’ve got a purpose statement that (in their view) answers the “Why” of their business. It provides a nice, logical context for their products or services; the so-called inspiration for their very existence.

They believe that this purpose statement should keep their employees engaged and

happy. Maybe their marketing department and brand agency can even turn it into a compelling point of difference to attract customers.

Crank it out, stick it on the website. Voila! Now we’re a purpose-led organisation. Box ticked

This, quite simply is not enough.

Over the last few weeks, we've touched on some of the differences between a traditional business purpose statement and a social purpose statement.

To drive home just how different the two approaches are, we've created a table that highlights the key differences between a business-centric Purpose and a Social Purpose.

The difference when you see it is so distinctive. It’s impossible to unsee and I haven’t yet met a business leader who doesn’t get excited about the opportunity that Social Purpose presents (even if they also feel a bit scared about how it will change so much). So if you’re feeling a little scared right now, it’s okay, that’s natural. That’s because I’m inviting you

to think outside of the box you and everyone else in the last forty years has been operating within.

Through a Social Purpose, we begin to understand who an organisation is. It’s not just

about what they do, it’s about what they stand for... their world view...their identity. This attracts people who also care about belonging the same values that a business lives by – as employees, customers and investors.

This begins to show the power of Social Purpose today. It invites businesses to become hubs of movements for positive change. Business with a human face, whose central reason for being is to create meaningful positive social impact

Next week we'll be sharing the story of how Airbnb progressed from having a purpose to a social purpose. Make sure to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter to get it straight to your inbox...

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